Page titles, or title tags in SEO speak, are one of the most important elements of on-page search engine optimization. A title tag accurately and concisely describes a web page's content.

Title tags appear in three important locations: search engine results pages (SERP), external websites (like social media) and browsers. A good title tag provides a good user-experience by accurately and concisely describing a web page's content. It should also follow best practices for SEO. Here's what you need to know about writing a user- and search engine-friendly title tag:

Title Tag Format

Most content management systems have a title field on each page to make it really easy to title every page on your site. If not, you can create title tags in HTML with the following code:

<head>

<title>Title Tag Example</title>

</head>

The optimal title tag format looks like this: Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand

As for length, Google will pull in the first 50-60 characters of a title tag for its results pages. If a title tag is too long, Google will display an ellipsis to show that the rest of the title has been cut off. Moz has a really great tool that emulates how your title tag will appear on Google's search result page.

Important Keywords Come First

The closer a keyword is to the beginning of a title tag, the better Google ranks that page. It's also a lot more likely that a user will click on the result if they see the keyword right away.

Use Your Branding

Best practices indicates that brand names should be used at the end of a title tag, but it really depends on the brand. Sometimes, a well-known brand name can impact where its content ranks or click-through rates. For these bigger brands, their name should appear first. For smaller brands with less name recognition, the keyword should go first.